Image Credit: RD/Orchon/Retna ltd; DC ComicsThe Dark Knight Rises may be recruiting another cast member from Christopher Nolan’s Inception dream team: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is reportedly in talks to join a starry corps of actors that includes Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Levitt’s Inception chums Tom Hardy and Michael Caine. No word yet on who Gordon-Levitt may play, but fanboys around the Web — not yet ready to give up on the well-traveled rumor that Batman foe Hugo Strange will appear in Nolan’s third and final Bat-flick — are speculating that Gordon-Levitt will take on the role of the mad shrink whose comic book resume of evil includes cracking the code of the caped crusader’s secret identity and then trying to sell it other super villains. Can you imagine Gordon-Levitt playing auction barker for Bruce Wayne’s name? I think I can. (I could also see a scene where scores of famous actors cameo in the movie as interested buyers participating in said auction.) Of course, there’s also the rumor that the movie will be based on the Prey storyline, in which Strange participated in the hunt to arrest the vigilante hero. The argument against Gordon-Levitt as Hugo Strange theory? The actor — slender and boyish — doesn’t look much like the comic book villain. But hey: Artistic license. (PS: That rumor that a mysterious “RW” — Robin Williams? — will be playng Hugo Strange? The source of that rumor now says he was just doing what we’re doing here: Having fun wondering aloud.)

But there could be other possibilities, too. Many fans — noting that Gordon-Levitt has a passing facial resemblance to Heath Ledger — are speculating he could be tapped to play a younger version of Joker in flashbacks. (Or how about this idea that just popped into my brain: Remember all those wannabe Batmans in The Dark Knight? What if we find out that in The Dark Knight Rises, there’s now a gang of wannabe Jokers giving Gotham City money-burning, eyeball-stabbing, ferry-blowing grief? What if Gordon-Levitt is one of them, if not their leader?)

Some fans think the thesp would make a fine, funny, fiendish version of The Riddler. I can picture Gordon-Levitt in manic SNL-hosting mode bouncing around the screen in question mark-imprinted tights and giggling up a “Riddle me THIS, Batman!” dark comedy storm — but remember, Nolan did tell The Los Angeles Times a couple months back that The Riddler won’t be in the film.

Casting Gordon-Levitt as a villain, however, would put The Dark Knight Rises at risk of bad guy overload. We have Hathaway playing Selina Kyle (a.k.a. Catwoman, though Nolan conspicuously omitted the word “Catwoman” in Hathaway’s casting announcement) and Hardy playing Bane. So what do you guys think of Batman taking on a protege in The Dark Knight Rises? No, not Robin the Boy Wonder — I’m thinking Nightwing, a.k.a. Robin/Dick Grayson all grown up?

Your nominations and speculations: Go!

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The Dark Knight Rises
  • Movie
  • 164 minutes